East L.A."- new CD by East L.A.'s legendary doo wop duo, The
Heartbreakers. Brothers Benny & Joe Rodriguez sound as
good as they did in the early 1960s when they recorded their
classic "Eastside Sound" hit "Cradle Rock." "Greetings
From East L.A." includes a new recording of "Cradle Rock."
It also includes the Mark Guerrero song "Baby I Love You So," in
addition to songs by Chan Romero, Frank Zappa, Agustin Lara, and
Larry Tamblyn of The Standells. The CD captures the sound and style of
the classic doo wop days of the early '60s. For more info on "Greetings
From East L.A. write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Greetings From East
The Heartbreakers (2014)
Robert Lee Revue
"City of Smooth
smooth jazz CD by Robert Lee Balderrama, founding lead guitarist
of Question Mark & the Mysterians of "96 Tears" fame.
Robert is a fine jazz guitarist and has an excellent band as a
vehicle for his jazz side. He still performs with ? & the
visit the band's my space page.
"City of Smooth Jazz"
Robert Lee Revue (2012)
"Ilusiones de Mi Vida"- New single by Aaron Ballesteros, also
the drummer for Chicano rock band Tierra. Aaron is the
songwriter, plays all the instruments, and provides
the lead vocal. This will eventually be a whole album of
what he describes as "easy
listening love songs," which are in Spanish. The title
track is now available as a download by itself at this link at
"Revelation"- Third and latest CD
by a great Texas-based band led by singer/songwriter/guitarist
Jesse Flores. This album, which is bilingual but mainly
in English, is filled with excellent original songs and great
singing and musicianship. Highlights include the melodic,
acoustic-based "Caroline," "Entregalo,"
a Latin rock gem, and Vudu Cafe's rendition of Malo's classic
"Suavecito." I highly recommend you check
out this band. For more info visit
Vudu Cafe (2008)
go to the Vudu Cafe store at amazon.com
"Grab Bag"- Fifth and latest CD by one of my
favorite current artists. As usual, his song ideas and
the poetry in his lyrics are great. His previous CDs,
with the exception of one haiku record, for the most part
have funky music tracks behind the lyrics. His haiku
CD has the backing of unusual sounds, instruments, and effects
without a backbeat. On "Grab Bag," pc combines
the two styles to create a sound he calls "art funk."
You get the funky grooves under an avant-garde aural atmosphere.
The concept is accurately described in the subtitle of the
CD, "Otherworldly Sonic Adventures." The cover
and graphics for the CD are clever and fun. pc has several
guest artists, including Ingrid Chavez, who worked with Prince
in the 90s. My favorite tracks are "Archery,"
which has some cool poetry while being humorous, "All
Out of Everything, and "Sturdy Heart." Grab
Bag" is on Talking House Records, written &
produced by pc Munóz. For more info on pc, see the review
below and visit his website,
pc Munóz (2008)
pc muñoz and
the amen corner
"California"- pc is a mestizo Chamoru (Native American-Pacific
Islander) from the San Francisco Bay area, who performs spoken-word
poetry over funk, rock & roll, and hip hop musical grooves.
The Chamoru culture is from the island of Guam. According
to pc, 60 to 70 percent of Chamorus have Latino last names
because the Spanish, who invaded Guam by way of Mexico, came
in galleons that often included Mexicans as well. Therefore,
modern Chamoru culture has similarities to Chicano culture,
with a language that's a mix of the indigenous and Spanish.
pc's style is more in the spirit of Gil Scott Heron, rather
than the style of most current rap artists. According
to pc's record company, "pc's music is more for listening
than for partying." That's true, but you can certainly
dance to many of the tracks if you choose to because they
groove. His lyrics are intelligent, hip, and sometimes
sprinkled with humor. Many of his songs have choruses
sung by guest vocalists and his band is versatile and very
good. His latest CD is called "California"
and it's on Beevine Records. My favorite tracks are
"California," which features a chorus vocal by Jackson
Browne, "Brunching Britney and the Homeboy," "I
Didn't Steal Anything," and "Small Map."
"Brunching Britney and the Homeboy" is my favorite
song on the cd. It's about a homeboy whose got the hots
for a white, good girl, cheerleader type. The song addresses
issues of race and class with a bit of humor thrown in the
mix. All this over a incredibly funky track. pc
muñoz is an excellent urban poet with a lot to say.
Check out his website,
pc Munóz (2004)
go to the pc Munoz store at amazon.com
"There Will Be Signs"- new CD produced, composed,
and performed by my cousin, Johnny Guerrero. Johnny
is a multi-instrumentalist, who plays all the instruments
on this collection of reggae instrumentals. Johnny was
a member of reggae bands Christafari and Temple Yard and has
performed with or on the bill with many major artists including
Beyonce Knowles, Sheila E., and Big Mountain. The only
guest musician on the cd is guitarist Tony Chin of the Soul
Syndicate Band (Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Lee "Scratch"
here to learn more about Johnny and his music on his my
space page. "There Will Be Signs" is available
at amazon.com at the link below and at www.cdbaby.com..
"There Will Be
Batista the Latin
"The Element"- new CD-EP by
the L.A. Latin rock band, led by Joe Batista. It's a
bilingual four song collection of Santana inspired Latin rock
featuring some fine vocals and instrumental ability by the
band. "I Feel Like I'm Flying" is a standout
track and the last cut, "Ritmo From With-in" is
an instrumental that allows the players to let loose and let
it fly. For more info on the band, click
to visit to their my space page.
Batista The Latin Rock Experience (2008)
"Just Enough To See the Sun"- new
CD by singer/songwriter Greg Esparza, who has in recent years
also been a vocalist with classic East L.A. groups Cannibal
& the Headhunters and Thee Midniters. In his solo
debut Greg's music is being compared to the current sounds
of artists such as Audioslave, Oasis, and Incubus. Some
of the tracks also have shades of the Verve and Toad the Wet
Sprocket. At times his vocals have a hint of John Bon
Jovi. Greg is an excellent singer whose voice and vocal
ability are better than the majority of alternative/pop rock
vocalists currently on the charts in my opinion. Greg
Esparza wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this CD.
For more information and to order the CD, go to
For information of Greg Esparza in regards to his "Eastside
Sound" musical activities visit
"Just Enough To
See the Sun"
Greg Esparza (2007)
Los Lonely Boys
"Los Lonely Boys"-
an excellent young band from Austin,
Texas made up of three brothers named Garza. Henry on
guitar, JoJo on bass, and Ringo on drums. Yes, his real
name is Ringo. They all play and sing very well and
their harmonies are strong. Henry is a great guitar
player, whose style shows influences of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos
Santana, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. They write their own
songs which are mostly blues-based, but there are several
with Latin elements. Lyrically, most of their songs
are in English, a couple in Spanish, and some are bi-lingual.
Willie Nelson calls them his favorite local band and guests
on acoustic guitar on what's probably my favorite song on
the album, "La Contestacion." Their debut
self-titled cd is on Epic Records, a division of Sony Music.
I saw Los Lonely Boys play on a late night talk show recently
and was impressed with them. Many Chicano rock veterans,
besides me, are taking notice of Los Lonely Boys. John
Valenzuela, my former fellow guitar player from my 70s A&M
Records band, Tango, gave me Los Lonely Boys' debut CD with
a good review. He liked them so much, he went to see
them live on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," a national late
night television show, and was impressed with their performance.
Manuel Valdez, former lead guitarist with 80s punk rock band
himself a great guitarist, also likes the band. He particularly
likes the guitar playing of Henry Garza. If these guys
keep their heads together, they should be around for a long
time. For more information, check out their my space
"Los Lonely Boys"
Los Lonely Boys (2004)
go to the Los Lonely Boys store at amazon.com
"Soul Redemption"- new cd by guitarist Abel Zarate and keyboardist
Michelle Pollace. Abel, who was a founding member of
70s Latin rock band Malo, describes the music as "Afro-Brazilian
global beat jazz." Abel Zarate displays his guitar
artistry and songwriting ability on this set of instrumental
tracks. One can hear shades of some of the artists who
have provided him with inspiration over the years such as
Carlos Antonio Jobim, Gabor Szabo, and Wes Montgomery.
Michelle's keyboard and writing style is a great stylistic
match for the talents of Abel Zarate. The cd also features
first rate guest musicians: John Santos on conga and
percussion, Paul van Wageningen on drums, Curtis Ohlson on
bass, and Anthony Blea on violins and violas. "Soul
Redemption" is produced by Abel Zarate, Michelle Pollace,
and Greg Landau. Abel Zarate is an important figure
in Latin rock history. His songs, arrangements, and
guitar playing appear on Malo's first two albums and he was
a co-writer of their mega hit "Suavecito."
He's also recorded and performed with Coke Escovedo and
Willie Bobo. For more information on Abel's career and
the Zarate Pollace Project, visit
Zarate Pollace Project (2005)
Beginning"- new CD by Bay Area Latin jazz pianist, Michelle
Pollace. In 2005, Michelle teamed up with founding member
of Malo, Abel Zarate, on a CD called "Soul Redemption."
Pollace's new CD demonstrates she's also a formidable solo artist.
Most on the songs on the CD are written by Michelle, with the
exception of a Latin-tinged version of Harold Arlen's "Somewhere
Over the Rainbow," "Onda Do Mar, co-written with Abel Zarate,
and "LaComparsa," written by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.
For more information on Michelle Pollace, visit her website as
Michelle Pollace (2013)
"Cada Loco Con Su
Tema"- an L.A. based hard rock-ska en Español band who have been
together about five years. Their first CD, which did
very well, included songs such as "Blanca Nieves"
and "Brown Impala." They've opened for such influential
Latin bands as El Tri, Victimas Del Dr. Celebro, and Ozomatli.
Their second CD, "Cada Loco Con Su Tema," is being
released on May 2, 2004 with a release party at the Roxy Theater
in Hollywood. Chencha is a high energy band, whose music
and spirit is in the same ballpark as Mexican rock icons,
Maldita Vecindad. To underscore the point, their new
CD is produced by Maldita's sax player, who's known simply
as Sax. Chencha Berrinches will begin a tour in May
which includes shows in California, Arizona, Chicago, and
Nashville. For more information on the band, check out
their my space page:
Learn about the origin of their name, which is quite amusing,
on their menu page called "the myth of Chencha."
"Cada Loco Con Su Tema" Chencha Berrinches
De La Navidad" (compilation)
CD release from Ramon Perez Jimenez, formerly known
as Little Ray (Jimenez). It's a collection of original
Christmas songs in Spanish, music by Ramon Perez Jimenez
and lyrics by Dora Ester Wynveltd. The CD, released
on Cosa Buena Records, features an array of lead vocalists
including Margarita Luna, Teo Franco, Leily Sanchez, Azuquita,
Stacie Chavez, Raymundo Monge, Daisy Gonzalez, Gabriela
Golding, 9 year old Teresita Osuna, and Ramon Perez Jimenez.
The musical styles of the songs include ballads, cumbias,
and mariachi-backed music. All the singers are excellent.
Ramon Jimenez takes the lead on the beautiful "Mi Tierra
Querida." Perhaps the best singer/performer to
ever come out of East L.A.'s fertile music scene, Ramon
can still sing with the best of them after more than four
decades as a performer. Much to Ray's credit, he has
created a recording studio (Sanctuary Studios) and a record
label (Cosa Buena) "to provide a haven for musicians
where they can work in a creative environment."
This first effort on his new label should be a staple every
Christmas for years to come, particularly for lovers of
Chicano and Latin music and generally for all lovers of
good music. In addition to Sanctuary Studios, Ray
has a management company called Vista Entertainment Group
and a booking agency by the name of Total Performance.
All three companies can be reached at 323-888-9884.
For more information on Little Ray's background, go to my
article on Little Ray Jimenez. Click
for the link.
"La Magia De La Navidad"
Ramon Perez Jimenez & various artists (2006)